I was hoping for another kind draw today so that I’d either catch a few or at least have a peg out of the wind so that I’d be comfortable for the day. The fishery has recently been restocked with 5,500 small stock carp averaging at 4oz, hopefully these would be feeding and presumably on the pellet as that’s what they be used to.
I got in the queue and was midway by the time of the draw and managed to snare peg 54. Dave from the shop told me that a rake of fish was put in on this peg so hopefully I’d be in for a few. With these fish averaging 4oz it meant you needed a hundred of them to have 25lb, which meant 20 an hour! I thought about this and due to me not being used to speed fishing I halved this to 50 fish for the match, although this depended if I was on them or not!
I arrived at my peg and had Brian ‘Tupper’ Ware on 52 and someone else on 56? Looking at my peg it looked ok; I had plenty of sedge cover on the far bank and the aerator to my left just in case the sedges weren’t showing. The sun was shining down onto my right hand side although it was still bitterly cold and the wind coming from left to right which would hamper my presentation.
Bait for today I had some pumped 4mm Sensas Expanders, half a pint of whites with a few reds, some corn just in case and some micros for feeding if the pellet was working.
Rigs for today I had my usual Malman Cedars, 4x12 and 4x10, both on 0.12 Ultima to an 0.10 hooklength and size 22 Middy 63-13 hooks. Elastics on both rigs was Maver 8 Latex. I had an aerator rig too just in case at 11m.
At the all in I went straight across to the sedge straight in front of me, baited up with an expander, I was having difficulty holding the 4x10 float in position and the majority of the time it just laid on its side due to the heavy ripple passing through. I shipped back and changed to the 4x12 rig, this was spot on and I could let the float drift from one side of the sedge to the other and repeat this until I got a bite. My first bite came after 15 minutes, a stocky of about 4oz. all fish had to be netted to keep them in top condition so it took a little longer to get it in due to not being able to swing it in. I went back and managed another 2 of a similar size but was having a bit of trouble keeping the pellet on the hook. Due to the wind blowing through I was having to strike fairly hard to make good contact, the only thing was that this heavy strike meant the pellet came off if I missed the bite.
I decided to use maggot as hook bait instead as this wouldn’t come off on the strike. I also started to feed a pinch of micros after each fish to keep them interested. By the end of the first hour I had 10 fish in the net, all of about 4oz, so I needed to keep plugging away in order to build up any sort of weight although at least I was on target for 10 an hour.
Into the second hour and it was much like the first, struggling to hold the pole at 13.5m in the wind and striking at any dip I got in hope that I would connect. I was still feeding a pinch of micros through my fruit shoot top after every fish but had a slower hour than the first taking my tally to 17 after the first two hours. This meant I was behind by 3 fish, although was I? Neither side of me had had a bite in the first two hours so really I was ahead if not by my own standards set.
Into the third hour and the fishing picked up somewhat, perhaps due to the perseverance of the sun which had finally broken through to heat the water a little. The wind had also died down somewhat although the ripples were ever consistent. I was plugging away with maggot and a few micros when Chappy and Adam Richards walked past. Chappy was on 74, out of the sun and in the wind and wasn’t doing very well so had decided on a walk to warm up. He asked me how many I’d had and I think at the time of asking I’d had 25. By the time he came back around I’d finished my 3rd hour on 35 fish so I’d put 17 in the net, back on track! Although Darrell Taylor had had 60 in the first hour! Yes 60 in an hour! Although he now couldn’t get a bite. Meanwhile John Illingworth was getting one a chuck and had been since the start!
Chappy came to sit with me for half an hour and gave me some notable pointers which In turn saw my catch rate improve once again! There were a few things he noticed about my set up;
I wasn’t using a back shot
I was using maggot not pellet as a hook bait
I was too much over depth
My pole pot wasn’t near enough to the end of my pole tip.
I was feeding after every fish
After sorting out these few tweaks, adding a number 8 buckshot 5inches above the float, changing back to pellet, changing my depth by a couple of inches, moving my pole pot right to the end and feeding every 3-4 fish I managed to amass 24 carp in the 4th hour, which meant my total catch thus far was 59! I’d beaten my target of 50 and with an hour to go and the fishing at its prime I had my sights set on the 70 mark!
But I was wrong, the clouds came out, the sun was hiding and the chill factor had also changed, it was freezing! Due to this temperature drop in the air it meant my last hour wasn’t as fruitful as I’d hoped. I managed a further 8 fish and finished on 67. I was chuffed to bits to have caught that amount of fish, especially in winter when bites are generally at a premium. Brian on 52 had had a liner and one fish in 5 hours and the bloke to my right packed up and went, he was hiding behind his brolly all day so I’m not sure how he got on?!
There were a few moaning about how rubbish it had been. This really gets my goat, now I know I’d had a reasonably good day and caught plenty of fish but most people wait all week to go fishing and then when they get there all they do is moan! They don’t have to go fishing! Nearing the end of November do you expect to catch big bags of fish week in week out? No! So don’t complain about it!
Come the weigh in, John Illingworth was leading the match with 58lb, made entirely of stockies, he’d had an approximate 220 fish in 5 hours! That some going by anyone’s standards!
5 people to my left didn’t weigh in and I then plonked 18lb 6oz on the scales, maybe they average a little more than 4oz?!
Back to the café I was hoping with so little people weighing in that I would have done my section. Middy read out the results and I was pleased to hear my name, I’d come 6th overall! Another good result although they only pay top four and Ray Singh who came 5th was in my section so he took the honours with his 19lb 10oz bag.
Saturdays Results (34 fished)
John Illingworth (Daiwa Dons) 58-13-0, carp, pellet, peg 16
Gavin Stansfield (Selby) 27-0-0
Andy Middleton (Oaks) 25-3-0
Ian Bowman (Maver Barnsley) 22-14-0
Ray Singh (Garbolino Elton) 19-10-0
Steve Lupton (Oaks) 18-6-0
Not to worry, I’d be back on the Sunday for what would prove an even bigger grueller weather wise!
Now Sunday morning I awoke at 7 o clock, had a quick phone call from Gordy, he was off to Woodlands with a hot water bottle for the day. I decided another trip to the Oaks and get my 6th and final qualifier in for the Xmas cheer match.
Over night it had snowed and there was a thick frost covering my car which took an eternity to clear!
To cut a long story short on the fishing front, I drew 33, along the back straight, somewhere I didn’t want to be at all!
I managed to foul hook and lose a fish off the sedge and then foul hook a 1lb Barbel in its tail all match. Needless to say I tipped back!
Ghandi won the match with 34lb made up of stockies and fish up to 5lb.
A few people in the café said how hot and cold I was, they were right my Saturday performances have been good of late yet Sundays are proving to be a nightmare!
Sundays Results (32 fished)
Chris Hall (Oaks) 34-4-0, carp to 5 lb, corn, peg 11
Tony Kozaczek (Oaks) 26-14-0
Dave Pimlot (Garbolino Elton) 24-0-0
James Wood (Oaks) 16-13-0
Ray Singh (Garbolino Elton) 14-12-0
Ray Knox (Aireborough) 14-3-0
Even though I’d had a rubbish day, did I moan? Did I buggary!
Gordy had also won the match at Woodlands with 24lb 4oz, beating 2nd place who had 24lb dead. Apparently one of the lakes was won with 4lb, oh dear!